Sunteți pe pagina 1din 24

rudit est un consortium interuniversitaire sans but lucratif compos de l'Universit de Montral, l'Universit Laval et l'Universit du Qubec

Montral. Il a pour mission la promotion et la valorisation de la recherche. rudit offre des services d'dition numrique de documents
scientifiques depuis 1998.
Pour communiquer avec les responsables d'rudit :

Carl Plantinga
Cinmas: revue d'tudes cinmatographiques/ Cinmas: Journal of Film Studies, vol. 12, n 2, 2002, p. 15-37.

Pour citer cet article, utiliser l'information suivante :

DOI: 10.7202/024878ar
Note : les rgles d'criture des rfrences bibliographiques peuvent varier selon les diffrents domaines du savoir.
Ce document est protg par la loi sur le droit d'auteur. L'utilisation des services d'rudit (y compris la reproduction) est assujettie sa politique
d'utilisation que vous pouvez consulter l'URI
Document tlcharg le 30 March 2013 11:53
"Cognitive Film Theory: An Insiders Appraisal"
Cognitive Film Theory:
An Insider s Appraisal
Carl Plantinga
Cet article value la contribution de l'approche cogni-
tive aux tudes cinmatographiques et indique les voies
emprunter pour que cette approche soit aussi efficace
et utile que possible. L'auteur montre d'abord que les
tudes cognitivistes du cinma ne sont telles qu'au
sens large du terme et qu'elles pourraient tout aussi
bien tre qualifies d' analytiques . Il fait ensuite
valoir que l'approche cognitive serait plus utile si elle
tait applique de faon plus gnrale, devenant alors
davantage un engagement en faveur de la rationalit du
discours et de la pense humaine qu' un projet se tenant
strictement dans les limites de la psychologie. Enfin, il
dmontre l'utilit de l'approche cognitive pour la com-
prhension du pouvoir psychologique du cinma et de
l'esthtique du film.
This article appraises the contributions of what has
been called cognitivism or the cognitive approach to
film studies, and suggests the means by which the cog-
nitive approach can become more central to film stud-
ies than it has been so far. The author first shows that
much of what has been called "cognitivist" film studies
is only cognitivist in a broad sense, and could just as
well be called "analytic." He then argues that the cogni-
tive approach would be most useful when it is thus
broadly applied, becoming then more a commitment
to the rationality of discourse and human thought than
a narrow project within psychology. The article then
goes on to apprai se t he ut i l i t y of t he cogni t i ve
approach in our understanding of the psychological
power of film and film aesthetics.
Having recently returned from the third biennial symposium
of the Center for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image,
write this appraisal of the current state of cognitive film theory
with enthusiasm. The success of this third symposium, held at
the University of Pecs in Pecs, Hungary, from May 21-25,
2001, holds promise that the cognitive approach has a future in
the interdisciplinary study of film. The cognitive approach has a
small but growing number of adherents, with strong interna-
tional and interdisciplinary participation. The twenty-five
speakers at the symposium were psychologists, philosophers,
film scholars, and graduate students hailing from nine coun-
tries. (Interest in the cognitive approach seems to be stronger in
Europe than in Nort h America; most of the speakers were
One of the most attractive features of the symposium is the
congeniality that stems from a sense of common purpose.
Adherents to the cognitive approach have significant differences;
the commitment to similar principles of academic discourse,
however, allows for more productive discussion and debate than
is sometimes found at academic film conferences. In fact, one
sign of the health of the symposium is the growing interest of
scholars who do not call themselves cognitivists (or at least not
primarily cognitivists) and whose scholarship centres on other
To begin I'd like to characterise the cognitive approach in two
ways, historically and conceptually, and to assess the strengths
and successes of the approach. Next I'll turn to problematic
issues and the weaknesses of the approach. I'll end the essay
with an assessment of the future of "cognitive film theory,"
whatever this phrase may come to mean.
A Brief History of the Cognitive Approach
The cognitive approach was introduced in the mid- to late-
1980s with a series of books and essays that began to make a
decisive difference in how scholars think about the study of
I u CiNeMAS, vol. 12, n2
film. Nineteen eighty-five marked the appearance of David
Bordwell's Narration in the Fiction Film and Bordwell, Janet
Staiger, and Kristin Thompson' s The Classical Hollywood
Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960. These books
make a powerful case for the study of film form and spectator
psychology based on the kinds of mental activities described by
cognitive psychology. Bordwell further clarified this methodolo-
gy in his 1989 "A Case for Cognitivism" and the 1990 "A Case
for Cognitivism: Further Reflections."
While Bordwell was developing a new method for film study,
Nol Carroll was busy discrediting the conventional methodolo-
gies. Carroll dropped a "bombshell" on the discipline of film
studies, first with a spirited attack on the psycho-semiotic film
theory of Stephen Heath in the journal October, and then a few
years later with his 1988 Mystifying Movies: Fads and Fallacies in
Contemporary Film Theory. Mystifying Movies critiqued the then-
reigning paradigm of film theory, a combination of Lacanian
psychoanalysis, Althusserian Marxism, and Barthesian semiotics.
After systematically arguing against the main tenets of this
Theory, Carroll's conclusion was characteristically uncompro-
mising. Such theory, he writes, has "[...] impeded research and
reduced film analysis to the repetition of fashionable slogans
and unexamined assumptions" (Carroll, 1988, p. 234). He
argued that it must be completely discarded and we must begin
anew. Carroll squarely challenged the legitimacy of film theory
as it was being practised in the 1970s and 1980s, and in a way
that made it difficult for film theorists to ignore.
Bordwell and Carroll continued the assault with their collec-
tion of essays, the 1996 Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies.
The frontispiece of the paperback edition of this book caused
some resentment, as its photograph of schoolboys Laurel and
Hardy, standing confused before a blackboard covered with mis-
spelled words and bad arithmetic, could be seen as a visual
metaphor for bad theory and confused theorists. Yet the polyva-
lence of the cover image suggests more; one could also see the
Laurel and Hardy characters as Bordwell and Carroll attempting
to make sense of arcane academic systems. On either interpreta-
tion, however, this book is clearly designed to mark a decisive
Cognitive Film Theory: An Insider's Appraisal 1 /
intervention in the field, and not necessarily to preserve diplo-
matic relationships with the psycho-semioticians whom it cri-
It could be argued that Bordwell and Carroll's polemics were
necessary interventions in a field that had become locked into
an orthodox theory that many found to be unacceptable. The
outcome has not been a Kuhnian-style paradigm shift; there has
been no academic revolution. Cognitive theory has had influ-
ence, but it is still practised by a minority of film scholars, if not
exactly on the margins of film studies, then certainly not in the
mainstream either. Yet Carroll and Bordwell's polemics cracked
the film theory shell, and thus served film studies well. "Psycho-
semiotic" theory is on the wane, and the field has become more
diverse and open to varied sorts of approaches. Many cogni-
tivists hope that the polemical interventions are behind us, and
that we can begin to concentrate on the positive contributions
the cognitive approach has to offer the study of film. Indeed,
Post-Theory, although it critiques the reigning paradigm, pri-
marily consists of positive scholarship, demonstrations of the
cognitive approach in relation to theoretical, aesthetic, psycho-
logical, and historical topics in film. Positive scholarship must
be the focus of future efforts by cognitive theorists.
Although Bordwell and Carroll have been the most impor-
tant figures in promoting the cognitive approach, the work of
many other scholars has made significant contributions. The
theories of Hugo Munsterberg, Sergei Eisenstein, and other
early film theorists initiated the study of the psychology of film
from a broadly cognitive perspective. There is a long tradition of
thinking about the psychological effects and processes of film
viewing from perspectives other than psychoanalysis.
Joseph and Barbara Anderson are two of the earliest and most
consistent proponents of cognitive film theory in its current
Joseph Anderson heads the Center for the
Cognitive Study of the Moving Image, and oversees the regular
symposia of the centre, while Barbara Anderson contributes in
many ways, not least by offering excellent symposia papers on
various topics in cognitive theory. Joseph Anderson's (1996) rel-
atively recent book, The Reality of Illusion: An Ecological
l u CiNeMAS
VoI. 12, n 2
Approach to Cognitive Film Theory, is a valuable resource for
anyone wishing an introduction to the cognitive approach,
albeit from an "ecological" perspective (as I will discuss below).
Other books from a broadly cognitive perspective have recently
examined classical narrative technique (Thompson, 1999), nar-
rative comprehension (Branigan, 1992), non-fiction film
(Plantinga, 1999), character engagement (Smith, 1995), the
avant-garde (Peterson, 1997), film and spectator psychology
(Currie, 1995; Persson, 2001), and, in two collections of essays,
a broad spectrum of film-related issues (Allen and Smith, 1997;
Carroll, 1996).
For some time it was thought that a weakness of the cognitive
approach was its inability to deal with the elicitation of emotion
in film. The cognitive approach to the emotions, however, has
been central in philosophy, psychology, and other major disci-
plines for twenty years, and recent publications have brought
such methodology to bear on film (Grodal, 1997; Plantinga and
Smith, 1999; Tan, 1996). Warren Buckland's The Cognitive
Semiotics of Film (2000) argues for a "European" mode of cogni-
tive film theory differing from the theory so far described in its
reliance on linguistics and semiotics. In his book Buckland
details the contributions of Michel Colin, Francesco Casetti,
Christian Metz, Roger Odin, Dominique Chateau, and others.
Within the discipline of film studies, the presence of cogni-
tive theory is becoming increasingly visible. The work of cogni-
tivists has been published in prominent anthologies, and the
approach is a more consistent presence in conversations among
film scholars. There is still much opposition, as Greg Currie
writes, "[...] for a supposed adherence to positivism and hence
for a betrayal of the new, radical insights of those approaches to
film that have emerged in the wake of structuralism" (Currie,
1999a, p. 105). And indeed, this refusal to "see the light" causes
some to dismiss cognitive theory as nave or politically retro-
grade. In his summary and critique of cognitivism, for example,
Robert Stam (2000, p. 240) writes that cognitive theory
[...] can be viewed as a nostalgic move backward to a
world prior to Saussurean differentialism, prior to the
Frankfurt School indictment of "instrumental reason,"
Cognitive Film Theory: An Insider's Appraisal 1 J
prior to Lacan's destabilized ego, prior to Marxist and
Freudi an cri t i ques of "common sense, " pri or to
Foucault's power-knowledge nexus and the mutually
constitutive relation between reason and madness .
In looking over this list of theorists, however, one wonders
just who is being nostalgic. Cognitive film theory draws from
some of the most recent interdisciplinary methodologies. On
the other hand, while Freud and Saussure are certainly useful,
they are hardly the latest thing.
Hard feelings stemming from Bordwell and Carroll's original
polemical attacks continue to dog cognitivists. Indeed, it has
been the response of some in the field to wholly ignore them,
seemingly hoping that they will just go away. As Stam (2000,
p. 235) remarks of Post-Theory, the targets of Bordwell and
Carroll's provocations "[...] reacted with olympian hauteur,
rarely deigning to respond". Moreover, the ad hominem attacks
on Bordwell and Carroll are not difficult to hear and read at
conferences and in the pages of major film journals. One can
only hope that the discussion will continue to turn away from
personalities to the discussion and debate of ideas.
What Defines Cognitive Film Theory?
Excellent summaries of the cognitive approach exist elsewhere
(Bordwell, 1989a and 1990; Brooks, 1984; Currie, 1999a), so
in this section I will be brief. At the broadest level, cognitive
theorists are committed to clarity of exposition and argument
and to the relevance of empirical evidence and the standards of
science (where appropriate). It would be a mistake to claim that
cognitive theorists oppose psychoanalysis per se, although most
would agree that psychoanalysis as practised in film studies has
not been fruitful. Moreover, psychoanalysis seems ill-suited to
account for normative behavior such as perception, narrative
comprehension, social cognition, and the experience of garden-
variety emotions such as fear and pity.
Beyond such broad generalities, we can speak only of tenden-
cies, for the kinds of methodologies and intellectual commit-
ments that fall under the rubric "cognitive theory" are broad
indeed. In part this stems from the elusiveness of the term "cog-
Z U CiNeMAS, vol. 12, n 2
nitive theory," and hence, "cognitive film theory." To restrict
cognitive film theory to theory rooted in cognitive science
would clearly be far too narrow, and also plainly inaccurate.
Traditionally, cognitive science has searched for the processes
underlying intelligent problem solving, or information process-
ing, using the computer as a metaphor for the human mind.
And although cognitivists have mostly left the computer analo-
gy behind, they have approached certain elements of narrative
comprehension and perception using models of rationality and
practical problem-solving. When Bordwell writes of the
schmas, inferences, hypotheses, and assumptions used in film
viewing, he assumes a spectator engaging in goal-directed, pri-
marily non-conscious procedures to make sense of film narra-
Yet in the work of other cognitivists, one sees strains that
emerge from outside of cognitive science proper. Joseph An-
derson's The Reality of Illusion, for example, is typical of much
cognitive theory in its hybrid methodology, melting a combina-
tion of cognitive theory strictly defined, an ecological approach
derived from J. J. Gibson, and evolutionary psychology.
Furthermore, although cognitivists are obviously interested in
cognition in relation to the film spectator, some have begun to
take a strong interest in neuroscience and its relation to specta-
tor psychology. When reading Torben Grodal's Moving Pictures
(1997), for example, one finds many references to the physical
processes of the embodied brain in relation to cognitive process-
es. The cognitive philosophers, on the other hand, are less inter-
ested in neuropsychology than in rational thought processes and
logical argument. Nol Carroll's The Philosophy of Horror
(1990), for example, theorises the phenomenon of horror in
purely cognitive and rationalistic terms.
I could go on to enumerate similar examples. The point is
that "cognitive film theory" does not necessarily imply a com-
mitment to cognitive science, strictly defined, and certainly not
to cognitive science exclusively. One might say that cognitive
film theorists tend to be committed to the study of human psy-
chology using the methods of contemporary psychology and
analytic philosophy. This can be an amalgam of cognitive, evo-
Cognitive Film Theory: An Insider's Appraisal 21
lutionary, empirical, and/or ecological psychology, with perhaps
a bit of neuroscience and dynamical systems theory thrown in
the mix.
Cognitive film theorists not only differ in methodology, but
also in fundamental beliefs about human psychology, or, as in
the following example, psychology in relation to ontology. To
take one case, David Bordwells brand of theory is constructivist
in its assumption that perceptual and cognitive activity goes
beyond the information given. As Bordwell writes (1989a,
p. 18), perception "[...] is not a passive recording of sensory
stimulation; the sensory input is filtered, transformed, filled in,
and compared with other inputs to build, inferentially, a consis-
tent, stable world". For Bordwell, the spectator constructs the
fabula, or story, of the fiction film in the process of viewing.
The degree to which that constructed fabula is consistent from
viewer to viewer depends on what kind of processes are used to
construct it. Bordwell (1989a, p. 22) distinguishes between neu-
rological processes, universal cognitive processes, and culturally
variable cognitive processes.
Gregory Currie, from a realist perspective, questions this con-
structivism, asking what advantage it provides to say that the
meaning of a work is constructed rather than discovered by the
viewer. Currie takes Bordwell's motivation to be to posit an
active rather than passive spectator, in part to counter psychoan-
alytic assumptions about the passive spectator of the classical
text. Currie claims that this is a poor motivation. It does not
take constructivism to find an active spectator; isn't the discov-
ery of the text s meaning, he asks, also an active response? Currie
notes that Bordwell cannot be a realist with regard to narrative
meaning, since Bordwell must posit that such meaning is con-
structed and not there, in the film, to be discovered. Bordwell is
a constructivist in this regard, but a realist in another sense,
"[...] on the important issue of the existence and significance of
connections between the narrative and the real world" (Currie,
1999a, p. 113).
Most cognitivists, including Bordwell and
Currie, tend to favour naturalistic explanations of filmic phe-
nomena that assume that we make sense of films in many of the
same ways we make sense of the real world.
22 CiNeMAS, vol. 12, n 2
All of this is to reiterate a claim often made before; cogni-
tivists have developed an approach rather than a well-defined
theory. What defines the approach is a commitment to clarity of
discourse, vigorous debate, and a loose family of assumptions
about workable means to study film and film spectatorship.
Chief among these assumptions is Bordwell and Carroll's call for
"piecemeal" theory, an emphasis on middle-level research that
chooses small, manageable questions for investigation. Bordwell
bemoans the tendency in film studies to "[...] exude a sweeping
confidence that we are on the verge of the next Big Theory of
Everything," and he denies that cognitivism is such a theory. He
ends his essay about cognitivism with a proviso: "All this could
turn out to be wrongheaded and useless" (Bordwell, 1989a,
p. 33). Cognitivism may eventually be superceded by or melded
with another, more sophisticated psychological theory. Most
theories are superceded. As Bordwell (1989a, p. 33) writes, we
can only hope that it will have been "[...] a little bit right and
somewhat useful here and there".
The cognitive approach is committed to middle-level research
about film and film spectatorship, with an appreciation for
"bottom-up theory" that is sometimes denigrated in other areas
of film theory. Of course, this is not to deny that some cogni-
tivists bear a fervor for large scale commitments or make broad
foundational assumptions. It is more to say that some middle-
level research can be conducted independent of those assump-
tions, and can be of use to scholars from diverse perspectives.
What Has Cognitive Film Theory Accomplished?
Cognitive film theory, broadly considered, has made signifi-
cant contributions to the study of film. Here I will mention
only those contributions with which I am most familiar, and
apologize in advance to those to whom I give short shrift.
Cognitive theory today is primarily interested in how spectators
make sense of and respond to films, together with the textual
structures and techniques that give rise to spectatorial activity
and response. The most sustained contributions thus far have
been made by David Bordwell and Nol Carroll. David
Bordwell's work includes theoretical treatises on filmic narration
Cognitive Film Theory: An Insider's Appraisal 23
(Bordwell, 1985) and film interpretation (Bordwell, 1989b), in
addition to several excellent director studies. From the stand-
point of cognitive theory, Bordwell has established a construc-
tivist approach (as detailed above) and has developed an attrac-
tive and compelling theory of filmic narration. Bordwell's
theory of narration is useful, for example, in distinguishing
between classical Hollywood cinema and art cinema, and in
describing the ment al activities of the film spectator.
Bordwell's approach is to pay close attention to the formal
workings of films in relation to the theory of narration he has
developed. His work is unsurpassed in the application of a par-
ticular methodology to film style (Bordwell, 1998b), or to the
study of various film directors and films, as in his studies of
Eisenstein (Bordwell, 1993), Ozu (Bordwell, 1988), and Hong
Kong cinema (Bordwell, 2000).
Nol Carroll's work also is wide-ranging, having touched on
almost every major topic in the theory of film. In my opinion,
some of his best work deals with the psychology of film specta-
torship, and can be found in several essays in Theorizing the
Moving Image (1996). Like Bordwell, Carroll has been interest-
ed in filmic perception and narrative comprehension, but
Carroll's interest extends to the spectator's motivations and
emotions, and to what makes the movies such a widespread and
intense experience for people worldwide (Carroll, 1996, p. 78-
93). Carroll has written on the relationship between genre and
emotion (in Plantinga and Smith, 1999, p. 21-47), on horror
(Carroll, 1990), suspense (Carroll, 1996, p. 94-117), and the
relationship between point-of-view editing and emot i on
(Carroll, 1996, p. 125-138).
The study of the means by which films elicit emotion has
become a major area of interest in cognitive film theory of late.
Books by Grodal, Tan, Plantinga and Smith, Currie, and Carroll
have all shown that the cognitive approach has much to tell
about how films elicit emotion. Their basic assumption is that
emotions have reasons. In other words, our emotional response
to texts (and other phenomena) is dependent in part on how we
evaluate and assimilate textual information. Thus the rhetoric of
a text is not simply about ideas, but also about emotional
24 CiNeMAS, vol. 12, n 2
responses. Cognitive film theory argues that in responding to
films, thinking and feeling are intimately related.
Character identification, or what Murray Smith prefers to call
character "engagement," is one of the dominant means by
which we become involved in a film emotionally. Smith argues
that one primary mode of engagement, what he calls the struc-
ture of sympathy, is a process that has three components:
1) recognition, by which the spectator constructs the character;
2) alignment, by which spectators are placed in relation to char-
acters both visually and epistemically; and 3) allegiance, by
which spectators morally evaluate characters. Smith's theory is
elegant, intuitively plausible, and useful in gauging the rhetori-
cal and aesthetic functions of individual films, as his film analy-
ses show. These are ideas, I believe, that will have a long life in
the study of film in relation to spectator response. (At the 2001
Symposium mentioned above, Jonathan Frome delivered an
excellent paper, entitled "Revisiting Identification," in which he
extended and critiqued Smiths theory of character engagement.)
Character engagement is one of the ways that the text primes
the emotional response of the viewer. If an emotion results in
part from an evaluation of a situation, our assessment of the
meaning of a situation for a favoured character will become a
major part of that evaluation. Emotional response also depends
on the nature of the situation presented, however, and on the
way the situation unfolds. In this way, particular sorts of narra-
tive scenarios are associated with specific emotionsthe family
melodrama with sentiment, action/adventure with suspense and
excitement, the romantic comedy with amusement and senti-
ment, etc. The relationship between narrative and emotion has
been the subject of a recent flurry of publications, but it is
nonetheless at a preliminary stage. One daunting question is the
degree to which film-elicited emotions are similar and dissimilar
to garden-variety emotions we experience in our actual, extra-
filmic lives. We also need a better understanding of the specifici-
ty of the film medium in the evocation of emotion. Some stud-
ies have attempted to come to grips with certain elements of this
specificity, considering the use of point of view editing (Carroll,
1996), the represented human face (Plantinga, 1999), "align -
Cognitive Film Theory: An Insider's Appraisal I^ J
ment" (M. Smith, 1995), and film music (J. Smith, 1999) in
relation to emotion. Much remains to be done, obviously.
In the study of the non-fiction film, cognitive theorists have
made a substantial contribution as well. Both traditional and
post-structuralist critics tended to take the non-fiction film as a
kind of imitation or reconstruction of reality. Such a view cre-
ates problems for the very notion of documentary, because one
can easily find the techniques by which documentaries manipu-
late their materials (and thus "the real"). This leaves open the
charge that the fiction/non-fiction distinction is illicit, that doc-
umentaries make use of fictional techniques, and even that doc-
umentaries are duplicitous in their pretence to deliver a pristine
reality when in fact they are manipulated and rhetorically pur-
poseful. This way of thinking defines the documentary in such a
way that no film could possibly meet its requirements, then cas-
tigates documentaries for pretending to do so!
These confusions stem from the faulty notion that a non-fic-
tion film pretends to be or is taken as a perfect rendition or
copy of some pro-filmic event or real-world subject. Instead, I
have argued that it makes more sense to think of a non-fiction
film in light of action theory, a broad derivation of speech act
theory (Plantinga, 1987). Non-fiction films are those films
through which the filmmaker(s) assert, and about which the
spectator assumes, that "[...] given objects, entities, states of
affairs, events, or situations actually occur(red) or exist(ed) in
the actual world as portrayed" (Plantinga, 1997, p. 18). This
suggestion has been subsequently revised, refined, and critiqued
(Carroll, 1997; Currie, 1999b; Ponech, 1999).
The distinction between fiction and non-fiction, then, stems
not from any necessary textual differences between fictional and
non-fictional films, but from the use to which the text is put
within a world of discursive action. Non-fiction films, like gov-
ernments, money, and birth certificates, function the way they
do because we assign them a certain status, and because that sta-
tus is taken up by a broader community and acted upon. To put
it baldly and much too simply, prototypical non-fictions are used
to provide direct information and/or arguments, and prototypi-
cal fictions to present imaginary worlds and stories. The tech-
26 CiNeMAS, vol. 12, n 2
niques used for these separate functions will often be similar for
fiction and non-fiction films, and it is not the case, for example,
that continuity editing or the use of non-diegetic music is a fic-
tional rather than a non-fictional technique. They are film tech-
niques that can be used in both fiction and non-fiction films.
The spectator, then, may well use similar, though not identi-
cal, strategies of perception, comprehension, and interpretation
when viewing fiction and non-fiction films. We can nonetheless
distinguish the prototypes based on instrumental factors such as
the intended and actual functions of the films within the world
of human discourse. This is the level at which the distinction
between fiction and non-fiction runs the deepest.
What Must Cognitive Film Theory Do Better?
Since the cognitive approach to film theory is a recent phe-
nomenon, it is unsurprising that much more needs to be done,
both in extending the kinds of work already accomplished and in
branching into new directions. There is certainly no area of film
scholarship that is closed, no question that has been fully
answered and explored. But is cognitive theory on the right track?
The film studies establishment has critiqued cognitivism for its
alleged commitment to science and objectivity and its seeming
lack of concern for the cultural issues that currently occupy film
studies. With regard to the use of scientific method, evidence,
and/or logical reasoning, cognitivists must plead guilty as charged.
Most of us find the methods of science, logical reasoning, clarity
of discourse, and/or the appeal to evidence to be central to what
we do. But this by no means implies positivism, empiricism,
reductionism, or, to put it baldly, epistemic arrogance. All meth-
ods of human inquiry are fallible. We must simply work with the
best methods available to us, always ready to revise our conclu-
sions in light of new evidence. Moreover, there may be some
questions for which humanistic inquiry of another kind is still the
best approach. For many questions, however, broadly "scientific"
or analytic methodologies are the best means of investigation.
Robert Stam (2000, p. 240-241) writes of the cognitive theo-
rists "[...] touching faith in reason (after Auschwitz) and sci-
ence (after Hiroshima)."
Cognitive Film Theory: An Insider's Appraisal
Cognitivism, he writes, keeps its faith with science,
even though "science" had not so recently "proved"
black, Jewish, and Native American inferiority. The
question, of course, is to what end is science being
used, and who gets to decide.
Stam's points here are confused. Surely reason and science
enabled the scale of the killing at Auschwitz and Hiroshima.
They aren't the root cause of such killing, however. Is the fact
that science has been used to such ends reason enough to aban-
don science? Surely reason and science have been used to pro-
mote the inferiority of races and ethnicities. But reason and sci-
ence aren't the root causes of such racism and oppression. And
science never proved Jewish or black inferiority, although some
scientists may have attempted to do so.
If Stam's claim is that reason and science are tools that can
be used for good or for ill, then he is surely right. I know of
no cognitive theorist who blindly embraces all scientific pro-
jects or findings, or who denies that science can be used in
atrocious ways. Cognitive theorists believe that the tools of sci-
ence are useful for the study of certain middle-range problems
having to do with film and the psychology of spectatorship.
Instead of castigating cognitive theorists for a broad "faith in
science and reason," a more useful critique of cognitivism
would either show how appeals to evidence and argument fail
generally, or demonstrate that cognitivists use these tools in
irresponsible or politically retrograde ways. I have not seen
such a critique.
This leads to the second issue, the claim that cognitive film
theory is uninterested in "alterity" and the cultural and political
concerns thought normative in much of film studiesgender
and gender roles, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. While
cognitive theorists have dealt with issues such as gender (e.g.,
Carroll, 1996, p. 260-274; Freeland, 1996; Leibowitz, 1996),
the heart of cognitive theory lies outside of the cultural concerns
of mainstream film studies. This in itself might be of little con-
cern, since film theory has shown itself to be fickle, and the idea
that some scholars might take an interest in questions other
than those du jour is hardly alarming.
28 CiNMAS,vol. 12, n2
Yet at the same time, many cognitive theorists are sympathet-
ic to the general political bent of the film studies discipline, that
is, to gender and racial equality, to multiculturalism, and to the
promotion of equality and tolerance for ethnic and sexual
minorities. Some film scholars, unfortunately, seem to think
that cognitivists whose work doesn't directly touch on these
issues are somehow ideologically suspect. I don't know what can
be done about such blinkered thinking (let alone the conformist
assumption that all in film studies must share a particular politi-
cal project).
On the other hand, however, since many cognitivists are
committed to the field s political concerns, perhaps it is time to
produce scholarship that demonstrates the usefulness of cogni-
tive film theory in answering the questions pertinent to the poli-
tics of location. One of the chief roadblocks here is that cultural
theorists are currently enamored of "difference" while the cogni-
tive theorists appeal to universalistic or naturalistic explanations
for spectator behaviour. For many film theorists, "difference" is
a key conceptin fact, a foundational idea in the determination
of how spectators respond to films. Feminist film theory, one of
the major strains of film theory today, depends wholly on the
idea that spectatorship is gendered, and that films elicit gen-
dered responses. Cultural studies approaches emphasise the idio-
syncrasies of particular historical communities in responses to
film, and downplay any sense of a spectator with universal char-
acteristics. For such theorists, the cognitivist appeal to human
nature runs against the grain. Again to quote Stam (2000,
p. 241), cognitive theory
[...] allows little room for the politics of location, or
for the socially shaped investments, ideologies, narcis-
sisms, and desires of the spectator, all of which seem
too irrational and messy for the theory to deal with.
In defence of cognitivism, one must first note that neither
appeals to human difference nor to human similarities have an
inherent political perspective. Film theorists typically assume
that claims for human nature are politically dangerous, since
they establish normative behavior against which alternatives
Cognitive Film Theory: An Insider s Appraisal 29
may be found to be perverse or inferior. Yet appeals to differ-
ences between races or genders have long been a favourite tool
of the oppressor, and claims for the essential equality of all
humans have been instrumental in campaigns for emancipa-
In fact, cultural theorists cannot escape various universal-
ist assumptions, such as assumptions about the equal worth of
all races, genders, and ethnicities, the immorality of oppression,
etc. The cognitivist search for far-reaching naturalistic explana-
tions of human behaviour, then, is not necessarily a political
handicap, any more than an emphasis on difference necessarily
favours tolerance.
Second, it is obvious that humans share basic characteristics
that have far-reaching effects on our behaviour. Some of these
more or less universal characteristics directly relate to the film
viewing experience. This assumption constitutes a fundamental
strength of cognitive film theory, its examination of what
Bordwell calls "contingent universals,"(Bordwell and Carroll,
1996, p. 91-92)
similarities between spectators, ordinary states
of mind (rather than the pathological states of interest to the
psychoanalyst), and the everyday abilities and characteristics
that allow us to make sense of and respond to movies and the
Perhaps some would say that such claims are true but funda-
mentally uninteresting or unproductive. Stam (quoted in Quart,
2000, p. 41) has remarked, for example, "[Film] Cognitivists say
that all viewers have the same perceptual apparatus. That's like
saying we all defecate. So what?" Of course, using similar
rhetoric, one could also easily caricature and belittle the claims
for difference and heterogeneity. To claim that the only elements
worth investigating are those that differentiate us seems rather
narrow, as though everybody already knows our commonalities. If
our commonalities are so well known and understood, then of
course there is no further need for research into human emo-
tion, perception, cognition, medical science, etc. This is implau-
sible. To understand spectatorship, one must understand what
spectators share in common, and those commonalities are often
not matters of common knowledge. The proper method to
explore spectatorship, it seems to me, is to investigate the "con-
J\J CiNMAS,vol. 12, n2
tingent universals" of spectatorship, the similarities across vari-
ous social groups (gender, culture, nation, etc.), and the means
by which "the politics of location" and numerous other factors
inflect these characteristics.
Cognitive theory should provide useful tools for the study of
the politics of location, or if you will, alterity. Given that we
begin with contingent universals, the addition of the influences
of locationhistorical contingencies, ethnicity, race, gender,
sexual orientation, etc.typically result in variations in social
cognition. As Bordwell (1989a) reports, the cognitivist frame-
work has influenced a broad array of disciplines, including
sociology, anthropology, and history. Working within such a
framework leads the researcher to show how social action is
mediated by mental representations, and how such mental rep-
resentationsschemata, scripts, mental modelsorganise cul-
tural life. In fact, sophisticated new approaches in sociology
and social cognition are available to be exploited by those ana-
lyzing film.
Understanding how a movie plays differently in the suburbs
versus the inner city, or in Dallas versus Paris or Sao Paulo, for
example, would involve a cultural analysis of the mental models
under use by the audience. Is it t rue t hat Germans and
Americans tend to respond differently to sentimental films, and
if so, what is the difference? Does the interactive nature of the
film viewing experience in some cultures influence emotional
response? How does political opposition to a films ideological
"project" influence emotional response? Researchers have shown
that certain genres appeal predominantly to men and others to
women. What social schmas or scripts are at work to determine
such likes and dislikes? Why are certain films popular in some
countries and not in others? How is cross-cultural emotional
response to films influenced by varied emotion scenarios or
scripts in the culture at large? And is the globalisation of the
media working to homogenise the emotional lives of diverse
populations? The tools of the cognitivist could be useful in
helping to answer all of these questions.
Cognitive Film Theory: An Insider's Appraisal J 1
Prospects for the Future
As I wrote at this essay's start, those who attended the third
symposium of the Center for Cognitive Studies of the Moving
Image left excited about the future of the organisation and the
cognitive approach it represents. As the semi-official institution
behind cognitive film theory, the centre, headed by Joseph
Anderson at Georgia State University in Atlanta, has an impor-
tant role to play in disseminating information, maintaining
esprit de corps, and organising regular conferences. The organisa-
tion's board of directors, at their post-symposium meeting,
sensed a good deal of enthusiasm and momentum among those
who attended. They concluded that it was time to take steps to
expand the activities of the centre. These steps will include a
move towards an annual conference, the establishment of a ref-
ereed on-line journal to be called The Journal of the Moving
Image, and an expansion of the centre's website to feature links
to salient essays and e-books (see endnote #1 for the website
Cognitive film theorists have no ambition to make cognitive
theory the dominant research mode in the field. Were this with-
in the realm of possibility, it could never be a goal. Most cogni-
tivists now are more committed to a broad research program
than to any particular theory, narrowly considered. Ideally, the
opportunities for vigorous academic debate and friendly dispu-
tation will remain both within the pages of the new journal and
at future symposia. Not all film-related questions can be
answered using the cognitive approach. Nonetheless, I remain
firmly convinced that the approach has been effective in its
investigation of certain problems. Its popularity within the dis-
cipline of film studies is limited, but it elicits interdisciplinary
interest. And the quality and innovation of the work that cogni-
tivists cont i nue to produce promises good things for the
Calvin College
32 CiNeMAS, vol. 12, n 2
1. Those wishing further information on the CCSMI should visit its website at^wwwcsm/. Both Laszlo Tarnay at the University of Pecs, and
Joseph Anderson, director of CCSMI, were instrumental in planning and coordinat-
ing this symposium.
2. Two books that generally summarize and stand for what Post-Theory is aimed
against are Reinventing Film Studies (Gledhill and Wi l l i ams, 2000) and New
Vocabularies in Film Semiotics: Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, and Beyond (Stam,
Burgoyne and Flitterman-Lewis, 1992).
3. See Allan Langdale (2002). See Langdale's introduction to the volume for the
implications of Munsterberg's work for cognitive studies. Also see The Film Form
(Eisenstein, 1977) and The Film Sense (Eisenstein, 1974).
4. See "The Myth of Persistence of Vision" (Anderson and Fisher, 1978). Also see
"The Myth of Persistence of Vision Revisited" (Anderson and Anderson, 1993).
5. For a review of Stam's book and a comment on his treatment of Murray Smith's
ideas and cognitive film theory, see "Review Article: Theory Misadventure and
Critical Choices" (Williams, 2001).
6. A fine overview of cognitive science can be found in The MIT Encyclopedia of the
Cognitive Sciences (Wilson and Keil, 1999). For an overview of cognitive science and
the arts, see Cynthia Freeland's two-part essay "Teaching Cognitive Science and the
Arts" (Freeland 2001a and 2001b), published by the American Society for Aesthetics,
and available online at <>.
7. The mind-as-computer metaphor does not sit comfortably with many contem-
porary cognitive theorists, and especially with a growing number of those who fore-
ground the importance of the body in everyday cognition. One strain of cognitive
theory that emphasises the body stems from George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. See
their Philosophy and the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western
Thought (Lakoff and Johnson, 1999).
8. Bordwell's constructivist approach to cognitive film theory has been critiqued
and measured against other types of constructivism by Berys Gaut (1995).
9. Besides an emphasis on "middle-level" theory, cognitive theorists have also called
for rigorous intellectual debate. Whether this might constitute a genuine pluralism
has been an issue of some contention. For a bracing debate (that was cut short
because Cinema Journal refused to print Bordwell's final rejoinder) see "Pluralism ver-
sus the Correct Position" (Lehman, 1997); "Pluralism, Truth, and Scholarly Inquiry
in Film Studies" (Bordwell, 1998); "Reply to David Bordwell" (Lehman, 1998); "A
Response to Peter Lehman's Essay 'Pluralism versus the Correct Position'" (Minnis,
1998); "Reply to Stuart Minnis" (Lehman, 1998).
10. Bordwell's work on art cinema in Narration in the Fiction Film could profitably
be compared with his earlier "The Art Cinema as Mode of Film Practice" (Bordwell,
1979); with Torben Grodal's intriguing cognitive account in "Art Film, the Transient
Body, and the Permanent Soul" (Grodal, 2000); and with standard non-cognitive
approaches such as that found in Geoffrey Nowell-Smith's (1996) "Art Cinema."
11. Although this is perhaps too obvious to be stated, the institution of slavery in
the United States was grounded in the differentiation between Whites and Blacks,
and of course, patriarchal gender roles depend fundamentally on presumed differ-
ences between females and males.
12. For general discussions of the issue of human universals, see Human Universals
(Brown, 1991); also see "Tradition and Modernity Revisited" (Horton, 1982).
13. The following are some of the books bearing on social issues from a cognitive
standpoint: Social Cognition: Making Sense of People (Kunda, 1999); Social Cognition
Cognitive Film Theory: An Insider's Appraisal J J
(Fiske and Taylor, 1991); Cultural Transactions: Nature, Self, Society (Hernadi, 1995);
Moral Imagination: Implications of Cognitive Science for Ethics (Johnson, 1993).
14. I would like to thank the anonymous reviewer for CiNeMAS for helpful sugges-
tions regarding this essay.
Allen and Smith, 1997: Richard Allen and Murray Smith (eds.), Film Theory and
Philosophy, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1997.
Anderson, 1996: Joseph Anderson, The Reality of Illusion: An Ecological Approach to
Cognitive Film Theory, Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Press, 1996.
Anderson and Fisher, 1978: Joseph Anderson and Barbara Fisher, "The Myth of
Persistence of Vision," The Journal of the University Film and Video Association, vol.
30, no. 4, 1978, p. 3-8.
Anderson and Anderson, 1993: Joseph Anderson and Barbara Anderson, "The Myth
of Persistence of Vision Revisited," Journal of Film and Video, vol. 45, no. 1, 1993,
p. 3-12.
Bordwell, 1979: David Bordwell, "The Art Cinema As a Mode of Film Practice,"
Film Criticism, vol. 4, no. 1, 1979, p. 56-64.
Bordwell, 1985: David Bordwell, Narration in the Fiction Film, Madison, University
of Wisconsin Press, 1985.
Bordwell, 1988: David Bordwell, Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema, Pri ncet on,
Princeton University Press, 1988.
Bordwell, 1989a: David Bordwell, "A Case for Cognitivism," Iris, no. 9, 1989, p. 11-
Bordwell, 1989b: David Bordwell, Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the
Interpretation of Cinema, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1989.
Bordwell, 1990: David Bordwell, "A Case for Cognitivism: Further Reflections," Iris,
no. 11, 1990, p. 107-112.
Bordwell, 1993: David Bordwell, The Cinema of Eisenstein, Cambridge, Harvard
University Press, 1993.
Bordwell, 1998a: David Bordwell, "Pluralism, Truth, and Scholarly Inquiry in Film
Studies," Cinema Journal, vol. 37, no. 2, 1998, p. 84-90.
Bordwell, 1998b: David Bordwell, On the History of Film Style, Cambridge, Harvard
University Press, 1998.
Bordwell, 2000: David Bordwell, Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of
Entertainment, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2000.
Bordwell and Carroll, 1996: David Bordwell and Nol Carroll (eds.), Post-Theory:
Reconstructing Film Studies, Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1996.
Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson, 1985: David Bordwell, Janet Staiger and Kristin
Thompson, The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to
1960, New York, Columbia University Press, 1985.
Branigan, Edward, 1992: Narrative Comprehension and Film, London and New York,
Routledge, 1992.
Brooks, 1984: Virginia Brooks, "Film, Perception and Cognitive Psychology,"
Millenium Film Journal, no. 14, 1984, p. 105-126.
Brown, 1991: Donald E. Brown, Human Universale, Philadelphia, Temple University
Press, 1991.
VoI. 12, n 2
Buckland, 2000: Warren Buckland, The Cognitive Semiotics of Film, Cambridge,
Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Carroll, 1983: Nol Carroll, "Address to the Heathen, " October, no. 23, 1983,
p. 89-163.
Carroll, 1984: Noel Carroll, "A Reply to Heath," October, no. 27, 1984, p. 81-102.
Carroll, 1988: Nol Carroll, Mystifying Movies: Fads and Fallacies in Contemporary
Film Theory, New York, Columbia University Press, 1988.
Carroll, 1990: Nol Carroll, The Philosophy of Horror, New York and London,
Routledge, 1990.
Carroll, 1996: Nol Carroll, Theorizing the Moving Image, Cambridge, Cambridge
University Press, 1996.
Carroll, 1997: Nol Carroll, "Fiction, Non-fiction, and the Film of Presumptive
Assertion: A Conceptual Analysis," in Richard Allen and Murray Smith (eds.), Film
Theory and Philosophy, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1997, p. 173-202.
Currie, 1995: Gregory Currie, Image and Mind: Film, Philosophy, and Cognitive
Science, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Currie, 1999a: Gregory Currie, "Cognitivism,", in Toby Miller and Robert Stam
(eds.), A Companion to Film Theory, London, Blackwell, 1999, p. 106-112.
Currie, 1999b: Gregory Currie, "Visible Traces: Documentary and the Content of
Photographs," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, no. 57, 1999, p. 285-297.
Eisenstein, 1957: Sergue Eisenstein, The Film Form, New York, Meridian, [1949] 1957.
Eisenstein, 1975: Sergue Eisenstein, The Film Sense, New York, Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich, [1942] 1975.
Fiske and Taylor, 1991: Susan T Fiske and Shelley E. Taylor, Social Cognition, New
York, McGraw-Hill, 1991.
Freeland, 1996: Cynthia Freeland, "Feminist Frameworks for Horror Films," in
David Bordwell and Nol Carroll (eds.), Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies,
Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1996, p. 195-218.
Freeland , 2001a: Cynthia Freeland, "Teaching Cognitive Science and the Arts. Part
1: Visual Art," ASA. Newsletter, vol. 21, no. 1, 2001, p. 1-3.
Freeland , 2001b: Cynthia Freeland, "Teaching Cognitive Science and the Arts. Part
2: Film Theory," ASA Newsletter, vol. 21, no. 2, 2001, p. 1-3.
Frome, 2001: Jonathan Frome, "Identification Revisited," paper given at the 3rd
Biennial Symposium of the Center for the Cognitive Study of the Moving Image,
Pecs, Hungary, 2001.
Gaut, 1995: Berys Gaut, "Making Sense of Films: Neoformalism and its Limits,"
Forum for Modern Language Studies, vol. 31, no. 1, p. 8-23.
Gledhill and Williams, 2000: Chri st i ne Gledhill and Linda Williams (eds.),
Reinventing Film Studies, London, Arnold, 2000.
Grodal, 1997: Torben Grodal, Moving Pictures: A New Theory of Film Genres, Feelings,
and Cognition, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1997.
Grodal, 2000: Torben Grodal, "Art Cinema, the Transient Body, and the Permanent
Soul," Aura, vol. 6, no. 3, p. 33-53.
Heath, 1983: Stephen Heath, "Le Pre Nol," October, no. 26, 1983, p. 63-115.
Hernadi, 1995: Paul Hernadi, Cultural Transactions: Nature, Self Society, Ithaca,
Cornell University Press, 1995.
Horton, 1982: Robin Hort on, "Tradition and Modernity Revisited," in Martin
Hollis and Stephen Lukes (eds.), Rationality and Relativism, Cambridge, MI T Press,
1982, p. 201-260.
Cognitive Film Theory: An Insider's Appraisal J J
Johnson, 1993: Mark Johnson, Moral Imagination: Implications of Cognitive Science
for Ethics, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1993.
Kunda, 1999: Ziva Kunda, Social Cognition: Making Sense of People, Cambridge,
MI T Press, 1999.
Lakoff and Johnson, 1999: George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Philosophy and the
Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought, New York, Basic
Books, 1999.
Langdale, 2002: Allan Langdale (d.), Hugo Munsterberg on Film: The PhotoplayA
Psychological Study and Other Writings, New York, Routledge, 2002.
Lehman, 1997: Peter Lehman, "Pluralism versus the Correct Position," Cinema
Journal, vol. 36, no. 2, 1997, p. 114-119.
Lehman, 1998a: Peter Lehman, "Reply to David Bordwell," Cinema journal, vol. 37,
no. 2, 1998, p. 90-92.
Lehman, 1998b: Peter Lehman, " Reply to Stuart Minnis," Cinema Journal, vol. 37,
no. 2, 1998, p. 95-97.
Liebowitz, 1996: Flo Liebowitz, "Apt Feelings, or Why ' Women' s Films' Aren't
Trivial," in David Bordwell and Noel Carroll (eds.), Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film
Studies, Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1996, p. 219-229.
Minnis, 1998: Stuart Minnis, "A Response to Peter Lehman's Essay 'Pluralism versus
the Correct Position,'" Cinema Journal, vol. 37, no. 2, 1998, p. 92-95.
Nowell-Smith, 1996: Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, "Art Cinema," in Geoffrey Nowell-
Smith (d.), The Oxford History of World Cinema, Oxford University Press, 1996,
p. 567-575.
Persson, 2001: Per Persson, Understanding Cinema: Constructivism and Spectator
Psychology, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2001.
Peterson, 1994: James Peterson, Dreams of Chaos, Visions of Order: Understanding the
American Avant-Garde Cinema, Detroit, Wayne State University Press, 1994.
Plantinga, 1987: Carl Plantinga, "Defining Documentary: Fiction, Nonfiction, and
Projected Worlds," Persistence of Vision, no. 5, 1987, p. 44-54.
Plantinga, 1997: Carl Plantinga, James Peterson, Rhetoric and Representation in
Nonfiction Film, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Plantinga, 1999: Carl Plantinga, "The Scene of Empathy and the Human Face on
Film," in Carl Plantinga and Greg M. Smith (eds.), Passionate Views: Film, Cognition
and Emotion, Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press, 1999, p. 239-256.
Plantinga and Smith, 1999: Carl Plantinga and Greg M. Smith (eds.), Passionate
Views: Film, Cognition, and Emotion, Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press,
Ponech, 1999: Trevor Ponech, What is Non-Fiction Cinema?, Boulder, Westview
Press, 1999.
Prince, 1999: Stephen Prince, "The Discourse of Pictures: Iconicity and Film
Studies," in Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen (eds.), Film Theory and Criticism:
Introductory Readings, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 99-117.
Quart, 2000: Alissa Quart, "The Insider: David Bordwell Blows the Whistle on Film
Studies," Lingua Franca, vol. 10, no. 2, 2000, p. 34-43.
Smith, 1995: Murray Smith, Engaging Characters: Fiction, Emotion, and the Cinema,
Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1995.
Smith, 1999: Jeff Smith, "Movie Music as Moving Music: Emotion, Cognition, and
the Film Score," Passionate Views: Film, Cognition and Emotion, Baltimore, John
Hopkins University Press, 1999, p. 146-167.
J U CiNeMAS, vol. 12, n
Stam, 2000: Robert Stam, Film Theory: An Introduction, London, Blackwell
Publishing, 2000.
Stam, Burgoyne and Flitter man-Lewis, 1992: Robert Stam, Robert Burgoyne and
Sandy Flitterman-Lewis, New Vocabularies in Film Semiotics: Structuralism, Post-
Structuralism, and Beyond, New York, Routledge, 1992.
Tan, 1996: Ed S. Tan, Emotion and the Structure of Narrative Film: Film as an
Emotion Machine, Mahwah, Lawrence Erlbaum, 1996.
Thomps on, 1999: Kri st i n Thomps on, Storytelling in the New Hollywood:
Understanding Classical Narrative Technique, Cambridge, Harvard University Press,
Williams, 2001: Christopher Williams, "Review Article: Theory Misadventure and
Critical Choices," Screen, no. 42, 2001, p. 230-238.
Wilson and Keil, 1999: Robert A. Wilson and Frank C. Keil (eds.), The MIT
Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences, Cambridge, MI T Press, 1999.
Cognitive Film Theory: An Insider's Appraisal 37